Solid Waste & Recycling


New producer responsibility trends hit West Coast

According to Bill Sheehan, director of the Product Policy Institute in Athens, Georgia, exciting developments are h...

According to Bill Sheehan, director of the Product Policy Institute in Athens, Georgia, exciting developments are happening on the West Coast of North America to get to the root of toxic and disposable product design.

Sheehan says that extended producer responsibility (EPR) for products from “cradle to cradle” is spreading.

“Washington State just adopted the strongest producer responsibility law yet in the U.S. for electronic discards,” says Sheehan. “British Columbia is implementing the most comprehensive framework regulation and is adding new products categories. And in California, a ban on putting hazardous household and small business products in the trash has created a ‘perfect storm’ for engaging local governments in promoting the producer responsibility policy approach.”

The Product Policy Institute is focusing on informing elected officials and other decision makers on the benefits to local government and communities of transitioning to producer-financed and designed product recovery systems. The organization is especially enthusiastic about two new free publications and a slide show on its website.

The cover story of the February 2006 issue of BioCycle, “The Next Frontier for MSW” by Helen Spiegelman and Bill Sheehan, reviews the century-long history of municipal responsibility for managing “solid waste” and suggests that food scrap recycling is the new frontier while product discard management will become an extension of the product marketing system.

“Transitioning to Zero Waste: What can local governments do NOW?” is a new report by Helen Spiegelman. It documents practical steps that local governments can take to implement an “EPR ethic” and planning approach that will lead to genuine waste prevention rather than end-of-pipe management.

“EPR + Organics Recycling = Zero Waste” is a slide show given by Bill Sheehan at the Northern California Recycling Association’s Recycling Update in April 2006.

For text-only emails: all items are at

Contact Bill Sheehan, Director
Product Policy Institute
P.O. Box 48433
Athens, GA 30604 USA
Tel: 706-613-0710

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